Federal NDP Leader Jack Layton says Canada needs to take an environmentally friendly approach to job creation to get out the recession.

Layton told reporters at the Varscona Hotel in Edmonton on Saturday he'd like to see "green" initiatives used to get Alberta tradespeople back to work.

The loss of nearly 24,000 jobs in Alberta last month is shocking, Layton said, and it's a shame most of those jobs are in construction.

"If we had a program to renovate homes, buildings, schools, churches, offices and factories to reduce energy use, we could put a lot of construction workers to work right now," Layton said.

"Unfortunately, that's not the path Stephen Harper is on."

Layton said Albertans have a lot of creative ideas when it comes to improving the environment.

"Albertans are, in my view, the most misunderstood people across the country, because when I come here what I notice is there are more wind turbines per capita in Alberta than any other province," he said.

"And in fact, when it came to environmental issues like waste-sorting rather than just throwing it in a big hole, which is what we were doing in Toronto, it was the people of Edmonton who were in the lead in Canada."

Layton was in Edmonton kicking off a national tour to discuss how "green" projects can help the economy.